Air Transportation: January 22, 2004


The new Russian-Ukrainian AN-70 transport is not going into mass production, as planned,  because of design flaws with it's D-27 turboprop engines. The Soviet Union always had problems with designing and building durable and reliable aircraft engines. These problems have not been resolved, and some Russian aircraft companies buy foreign engines for their transports. The AN-70 has been pitched as a low cost competition for nations needing C-130 or A400M type medium military transports. And the AN-70 is a pretty beefy prop-driven aircraft. While the C-130 can haul 20 tons, and the A400M 37 tons, the AN-70 can carry 47 tons (for up to 1,350 kilometers.) Carrying 20 tons, the AN-70 can travel 7,400 kilometers. The aircraft does excel in one area the Russians were always good at; the ability to operate from unpaved, and short, runways. The Russian-Ukrainian company building the AN-70 expected to sell lots of them to countries like India and China, and others that want the most for their money for a rugged military transport. But until the engine problems are cleared up, there will be no aircraft to sell. 


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